Donnelly Center

Toronto, Canada

Donnelly Center

Toronto, Canada
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El-Hachem N.,Institute Of Recherches Cliniques Of Montreal | El-Hachem N.,University of Montréal | Gendoo D.M.A.,University of Toronto | Ghoraie L.S.,University of Toronto | And 14 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2017

Identification of drug targets and mechanism of action (MoA) for new and uncharacterized anticancer drugs is important for optimization of treatment efficacy. Current MoA prediction largely relies on prior information including side effects, therapeutic indication, and chemoinformatics. Such information is not transferable or applicable for newly identified, previously uncharacterized small molecules. Therefore, a shift in the paradigm of MoA predictions is necessary toward development of unbiased approaches that can elucidate drug relationships and efficiently classify new compounds with basic input data. We propose here a new integrative computational pharmacogenomic approach, referred to as Drug Network Fusion (DNF), to infer scalable drug taxonomies that rely only on basic drug characteristics toward elucidating drug-drug relationships. DNF is the first framework to integrate drug structural information, high-throughput drug perturbation, and drug sensitivity profiles, enabling drug classification of new experimental compounds with minimal prior information. DNF taxonomy succeeded in identifying pertinent and novel drug-drug relationships, making it suitable for investigating experimental drugs with potential new targets or MoA. The scalability of DNF facilitated identification of key drug relationships across different drug categories, providing a flexible tool for potential clinical applications in precision medicine. Our results support DNF as a valuable resource to the cancer research community by providing new hypotheses on compound MoA and potential insights for drug repurposing. ©2017 AACR.


Singh M.,McMaster University | Venugopal C.,McMaster University | Tokar T.,University of Toronto | Brown K.R.,University of Toronto | And 24 more authors.
Acta Neuropathologica | Year: 2017

Brain metastases (BM) are the most common brain tumor in adults and are a leading cause of cancer mortality. Metastatic lesions contain subclones derived from their primary lesion, yet their functional characterization is limited by a paucity of preclinical models accurately recapitulating the metastatic cascade, emphasizing the need for a novel approach to BM and their treatment. We identified a unique subset of stem-like cells from primary human patient brain metastases, termed brain metastasis-initiating cells (BMICs). We now establish a BMIC patient-derived xenotransplantation (PDXT) model as an investigative tool to comprehensively interrogate human BM. Using both in vitro and in vivo RNA interference screens of these BMIC models, we identified SPOCK1 and TWIST2 as essential BMIC regulators. SPOCK1 in particular is a novel regulator of BMIC self-renewal, modulating tumor initiation and metastasis from the lung to the brain. A prospective cohort of primary lung cancer specimens showed that SPOCK1 was overexpressed only in patients who ultimately developed BM. Protein–protein interaction network mapping between SPOCK1 and TWIST2 identified novel pathway interactors with significant prognostic value in lung cancer patients. Of these genes, INHBA, a TGF-β ligand found mutated in lung adenocarcinoma, showed reduced expression in BMICs with knockdown of SPOCK1. In conclusion, we have developed a useful preclinical model of BM, which has served to identify novel putative BMIC regulators, presenting potential therapeutic targets that block the metastatic process, and transform a uniformly fatal systemic disease into a locally controlled and eminently more treatable one. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany


Yang F.,Donnelly Center | Yang F.,University of Toronto | Yang F.,Mt Sinai Hospital | Sun S.,Donnelly Center | And 21 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2017

To better understand the health implications of personal genomes, we now face a largely unmet challenge to identify functional variants within disease-associated genes. Functional variants can be identified by trans-species complementation, e.g., by failure to rescue a yeast strain bearing a mutation in an orthologous human gene. Although orthologous complementation assays are powerful predictors of pathogenic variation, they are available for only a few percent of human disease genes. Here we systematically examine the question of whether complementation assays based on paralogy relationships can expand the number of human disease genes with functional variant detection assays. We tested over 1,000 paralogous human-yeast gene pairs for complementation, yielding 34 complementation relationships, of which 33 (97%) were novel. We found that paralog-based assays identified disease variants with success on par with that of orthology-based assays. Combining all homology-based assay results, we found that complementation can often identify pathogenic variants outside the homologous sequence region, presumably because of global effects on protein folding or stability. Within our search space, paralogy-based complementation more than doubled the number of human disease genes with a yeast-based complementation assay for disease variation. © 2017 Yang et al.


Pan Q.,Donnelly Center | Tattoli I.,University of Toronto | Maisonneuve C.,University of Toronto | Blencowe B.J.,Donnelly Center | And 2 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2016

Background: The intestinal epithelium plays a critical role in nutrient absorption and innate immune defense. Recent studies showed that metabolic stress pathways, in particular the integrated stress response (ISR), control intestinal epithelial cell fate and function. Here, we used RNA-seq to analyze the global transcript level and alternative splicing responses of primary murine enteroids undergoing two distinct ISR-triggering stresses, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and nutrient starvation. Results: Our results reveal the core transcript level response to ISR-associated stress in murine enteroids, which includes induction of stress transcription factors, as well as genes associated with chemotaxis and inflammation. We also identified the transcript expression signatures that are unique to each ISR stress. Among these, we observed that ER stress and nutrient starvation had opposite effects on intestinal stem cell (ISC) transcriptional reprogramming. In agreement, ER stress decreased EdU incorporation, a marker of cell proliferation, in primary murine enteroids, while nutrient starvation had an opposite effect. We also analyzed the impact of these cellular stresses on mRNA splicing regulation. Splicing events commonly regulated by both stresses affected genes regulating splicing and were associated with nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), suggesting that splicing is modulated by an auto-regulatory feedback loop during stress. In addition, we also identified a number of genes displaying stress-specific splicing regulation. We suggest that functional gene expression diversity may arise during stress by the coordination of alternative splicing and alternative translation, and that this diversity might contribute to the cellular response to stress. Conclusions: Together, these results provide novel understanding of the importance of metabolic stress pathways in the intestinal epithelium. Specifically, the importance of cellular stresses in the regulation of immune and defense function, metabolism, proliferation and ISC activity in the intestinal epithelium is highlighted. Furthermore, this work highlights an under-appreciated role played by alternative splicing in shaping the response to stress and reveals a potential mechanism for gene regulation involving coupling of AS and alternative translation start sites. © 2016 The Author(s).


PubMed | University of Toronto and Donnelly Center
Type: | Journal: BMC genomics | Year: 2016

The intestinal epithelium plays a critical role in nutrient absorption and innate immune defense. Recent studies showed that metabolic stress pathways, in particular the integrated stress response (ISR), control intestinal epithelial cell fate and function. Here, we used RNA-seq to analyze the global transcript level and alternative splicing responses of primary murine enteroids undergoing two distinct ISR-triggering stresses, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and nutrient starvation.Our results reveal the core transcript level response to ISR-associated stress in murine enteroids, which includes induction of stress transcription factors, as well as genes associated with chemotaxis and inflammation. We also identified the transcript expressionsignatures that are unique to each ISR stress. Among these, we observed that ER stress and nutrient starvation had opposite effects on intestinal stem cell (ISC) transcriptional reprogramming. In agreement, ER stress decreased EdU incorporation, a marker of cell proliferation, in primary murine enteroids, while nutrient starvation had an opposite effect. We also analyzed the impact of these cellular stresses on mRNA splicing regulation. Splicing events commonly regulated by both stresses affected genes regulating splicing and were associated with nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), suggesting that splicing is modulated by an auto-regulatory feedback loop during stress. In addition, we also identified a number of genes displaying stress-specific splicing regulation. We suggest that functional gene expression diversity may arise during stress by the coordination of alternative splicing and alternative translation, and that this diversity might contribute to the cellular response to stress.Together, these results provide novel understanding of the importance of metabolic stress pathways in the intestinal epithelium. Specifically, the importance of cellular stresses in the regulation of immune and defense function, metabolism, proliferation and ISC activity in the intestinal epithelium is highlighted. Furthermore, this work highlights an under-appreciated role played by alternative splicing in shaping the response to stress and reveals a potential mechanism for gene regulation involving coupling of AS and alternative translation start sites.


Ward M.C.,University of Cambridge | Wilson M.D.,University of Cambridge | Barbosa-Morais N.L.,Donnelly Center | Schmidt D.,University of Cambridge | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Cell | Year: 2013

At least half of the human genome is derived from repetitive elements, which are often lineage specific and silenced by a variety of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Using a transchromosomic mouse strain that transmits an almost complete single copy of human chromosome 21 via the female germline, we show that a heterologous regulatory environment can transcriptionally activate transposon-derived human regulatory regions. In the mouse nucleus, hundreds of locations on human chromosome 21 newly associate with activating histone modifications in both somatic and germline tissues, and influence the gene expression of nearby transcripts. These regions are enriched with primate and human lineage-specific transposable elements, and their activation corresponds to changes in DNA methylation at CpG dinucleotides. This study reveals the latent regulatory potential of the repetitive human genome and illustrates the species specificity of mechanisms that control it. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


PubMed | University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, Donnelly Center and University of Aberdeen
Type: | Journal: G3 (Bethesda, Md.) | Year: 2016

Disruption of protein quality control can be detrimental, having toxic effects on single cell organisms, contributing to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Huntingtons in humans. Here we examined the effects of polyQ aggregation in a major fungal pathogen of humans, Candida albicans, with the goal of identifying new approaches to disable this fungus. However, we discovered that expression of poly-glutamine (polyQ) stretches up to 230Q had no effect on C. albicans ability to grow and withstand proteotoxic stress. Bioinformatics analysis demonstrates that C. albicans has a similarly glutamine rich proteome to the unicellular fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which exhibits polyQ toxicity with as few as 72Q. Surprisingly, global transcriptional profiles indicated no significant change upon induction of up to 230Q. Proteomic analysis highlighted two key interactors of 230Q, Sis1 and Sgt2, however, loss of either protein had no additional effect on C. albicans toxicity. Our data suggest that C. albicans has evolved powerful mechanisms to overcome the toxicity associated with aggregation-prone proteins, providing a unique model for studying polyQ associated diseases.

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